Located in south-eastern Siberia, north of the Mongolian border and surrounded by mountains, forests and wild rivers, Baikal is an immense and breathtaking area of natural beauty. It is the world’s oldest and deepest freshwater lake, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1996.

Vast as a sea and deep as an ocean trench, Russia's Lake Baikal is one of the world's great natural wonders. With a surface area bigger than Belgium, it contains nearly one quarter of the entire world's freshwater. The water in the lake creates a mild microclimate around its shores.

Regardless of season and location, the mesmerizing beauty of Baikal attracts a lot of people all year round. If you are in Buryatia, the lake Baikal is a must-see and well worth the journey.

Baikal is truly a lake of superlatives. Here are the facts to prove it:

  • Baikal is the world’s most ancient freshwater lake. It originated approximately 20-25 million years ago.
  • While more than 300 rivers flow in, only one - the Angara - flows out, eventually draining into the Arctic Ocean, hundreds of kilometers to the north.
  • The Earth's deepest inland body of water, its massive stone basin is so large that all of the rivers on the planet would take an entire year to fill it.
  • Lake Baikal is one of the clearest and purest bodies of water. In a good day you could see 40 meters into the lake.
  • Lake Baikal is home to more than 2,000 species of plants and animals, two-thirds of which are endemics. They can be found nowhere else in the world, including the Baikal omul fish and golomyanka оr Baikal oil fish as well as the nerpa, one of the world's only freshwater species of seal.
  • Bears, elk, lynx and other wildlife abound in the surrounding forests and mountains.

Buryatia is truly a nature lover's paradise!

1. Байкал – царство льда